What is God’s will for my life?
Christian’s have a lot of phrases that they use to explain that one. Like God has a plan for you, of God has meant you for something special, listen to your heart, and try to listen to God, see which doors God opens for you or just have faith.
But we run into difficulties with these motivational phrases meant to keep us moving, like when do I know this is God’s plan, what does that something special actually mean-is it something special like rockstar special or something special like a Christian martyr special? Listening to our hearts can be misleading with the state of our wildly changing feelings and when we listen to God, God does not always speak like a voice from heaven that sounds something like Charlton Heston. Often in our life many doors open at the same time, that is many opportunities, sometimes both are good opportunities but if one turns out not so great we think we maybe missed God’s will (as if living the Christian life always leads to life working out well…) and what exactly does it mean to just have faith???
Walk down this road for a minute with someone that is trying to figure out God’s will for their life in an upcoming decision about a relationship. Is it God’s will for my life to marry this person, they ask.
You can start off by making a list of the pros and cons, but that isn’t usually the way we make relationship decisions. You ask how do you feel about this person, you try to listen to your heart. Your heart might be all over the places, you might have romantic feelings but you also have some reservations, or you are just on cloud nine and you can’t possibly see anything that might be wrong. You pray about it but their doesn’t seem to be a clear yes or no from God. Then you marry that person, it works out well until it doesn’t, or it doesn’t work out well at all. You have the normal difficulties of marriage or extraordinary ones that aren’t good at all. You feel in love, then you don’t feel like you love that person, then you wonder if someone this was God’s will to be with this person, does God want me to be with a person, what if I don’t feel in love anymore is this still God’s will or has it changed?
You see the extraordinary amount of difficulty trying to find God’s will like that, it almost is reduced to looking for patterns in tea leaves. It becomes all sorts of subjective and it becomes all sorts of dependent on me. So, is that God’s will? Some sort of amorphous, fuzzy, ever-changing, never certain, squiggly line that you just can’t be sure of?
Let me take you to this beautiful reading today from Paul’s letter to the Church in Colossae singing praises about Jesus Christ and who He is.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. \
This imagery describes not only the Jesus we think of who walked with us, ate and healed, but Jesus from eternity, God through whom all things were created and through whom all things hold together and who is the Lord of all things. God in all of God’s glory, power, majesty and righteousness, is beyond us, beyond who we are. There are so many instances in the old testament when the movement of God caused hurricanes and great winds and just a glimpse of God’s glory caused men to fall down as if they were dead. God made and came to HIs creation in a way that we can know God, the invisible God made visible in Jesus, God from the beginning but also born of the Virgin Mary, crucified but rose from the dead and is our relationship and connection to God.
We exist to be with God and to know God and to receive the love of God, this is accomplished by God making God’s love and wisdom known to us through Jesus. We know God by knowing Jesus.
God’s will for your life and mine? Be in a saving relationship with God through God’s gift of faith in Jesus. It is that simple. God’s will is not a great mystery or deep unknown or known only in tea leaves. Know God by Knowing Jesus. This happens through the gift of faith through the waters of Holy Baptism and the Hearing and receiving of God’s Word.
If you are baptized and believe and confess that Jesus Christ is your savior, the one that brings you to God, then you are in God’s will. That is what God wants for you.
That simple and that profound.
First please spend some time and meditate upon the freedom that realization offers. You can let go of the stress and wondering, God’s will is not a mystery or unknowable to you. But at the same time, it’s not something you achieve, like being a rockstar, it is something that is given and received from God’s love for you. So God’s will actually means letting go and letting God. Letting go of our own striving for purpose and meaning and let God fully give us purpose and meaning that never ends.
Secondly, you have a frame of reference to work within. Before, wondering about God’s will was a lot like throwing darts at a board when the lights are out. It was all based on our own subjective whims and thoughts that change easily. But now, in Jesus you are married to God. When you are married that changes things. You don’t live life like you once did when you were single, your priorities change, your choices change and where your time is spent changes as well. Now the question is because you are already found within God’s will in Jesus, how many ways can I receive God’s love, love God back and give that love away? That is the way we address our questions in life as Christians.
How do I receive God’s love? Be in worship, be in His Word, be in prayer, receive the Sacraments, spend time with God like you would spend time with your best friend.
How do I love God back? That list never ends and slowly you realize your whole life and everything you do is a life of thanks and praise.
How do I give that love away? That list never ends and how give God’s love through you opens up the whole world to you.
What is God’s will for you and me? Know God through Jesus. You are already successful, there is no fear or anxiety or stress needed. In Jesus you are already all that God desires.